North Carolina history has just become more affordable.
The Model Farm, an important Reconstruction-era historic site located at 2045 Brentwood Street in High Point, has been placed on the market by its California-based owner. Its price has been adjusted down to $99,000 from the earlier $177,500 asking price.
The 3,300 square foot farmhouse was built in 1866 by the Baltimore Association of Friends to Advise and Assist Friends in the Southern States as a demonstration project. The Friends sought to improve production and prosperity among the state’s war-torn farmers by informing them of advances in agricultural practice and procedure. The site had wide-ranging influence across the region and became a center of modern agricultural standards for most of the late nineteenth century. Governor Jonathan Worth stated that the Model Farm was the only green spot in North Carolina in the years after the war. Today, the Farm remains one of North Carolina’s most important Reconstruction-era historic sites.
William A. Sampson of Maine operated the 240-acre farm beginning in 1866. Sampson was well-versed in modern agricultural practices and set about demonstrating the use of clover crops for soil fertilization, the sale of seed and the cultivation of grass pastureland. Other initiatives included a barn with running water, “rat-proof” corn cribs, milled bone for fertilization, iron axles on wagons, thoroughbred cattle and registered sheep and hogs. After twenty-five years of service, the Baltimore Association considered its mission complete and sold the property for private use in 1891.
Though the outbuildings and barn have been lost, the imposing farmhouse remains. It stands two and a half stories tall, with a steeply sloping triple-A roofline and a wide front porch, a large three-sided window bay on the west elevation and arched windows lighting the attic. Interior appointments are simple; however, the plaster walls and ceilings and running water were novel in the South in the years after the Civil War.
The neighborhood in which the Model Farm stands was once the Springfield community, a agrarian village of Quakers clustered around Springfield Friends Meeting House. In the past 50 years, Springfield grew from a farming community into a commercial and industrial neighborhood of High Point. Although the house is now convenient to interstate highways, its once bucolic setting has been lost to parking lots and satellite dishes.
Ideas for the site range widely, from a continued residential use to adaptation to a small inn, garden center, or antique shop. The house and its land were recognized as a Guilford County landmark property in 2001, a designation that reduces property taxes in exchange for regulation of the historic character of the property. The house may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places – a move that could tap into state and federal tax credits.
Interested parties should contact Mike Stout, Regional Director of the Preservation North Carolina Northwest Office. 336-788-0765.